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■ The ‘63 Studebaker is no hanger queen. Though it isn’t “rode hard and put away wet” it does get plenty of exercise on Dane Farms, hauling hay and livestock.

At the dawn of the 1960s, most of the smaller independent American auto and truck manufacturers had faded away under the searing light of “The Big Three,” General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Corporation. Studebaker was way older than any of them but was grimly hanging on to it’s tiny slivers of the car and truck markets.

Studebaker was founded in 1852, incorporated as the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company in 1868 and was a very well known and respected manufacturer of horse drawn wagons, carriages of all types and tack well into the 20th century. Their involvement in motor vehicle manufacture started in 1897, when they experimented with electric vehicles. They started building gas powered cars in 1904, floundered a bit with ill-advised collaborations with Garford and E-M-F, finally setting down in 1911 with their own Studebaker brand. Though their horse-drawn equipment was a big money maker in World War I, Studebaker execs saw the writing on the wall and ceased the production of wagons and horse tack in 1919.

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May 2020